signed in the off-season.
Bob knew all about him and was right on in the end. But our conversation didn't stop there. He told me about the book he was writing, The Water Boy, his memories from the early days of the CFL, the time he spent in the NFL with the Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals and Dolphins to his return to the B.C. Lions as president in 2002. He loved his football and his CFL.
He also loved his boat, Waterbouy, the 40-footer he docked near his downtown Vancouver residence and took out on week-long trips. I asked him if he hired a captain for the overnighters, and he laughed, "No, me," meaning he drove his own boat.
Told him I had family that had just moved to Seattle and that I'd be up that way soon again. He said call, that he would take us out on the boat. Like too many of us, I was up that way this past June and I didn't call, but remember saying as we were coming home, "Next time we go to Seattle I'm taking Bob up on his offer. We're going to Vancouver so he can take us out on his boat."
Next time now is too late, the family holding a private service for Bob this Saturday followed by a July 18 public tribute during halftime of the Lions-Winnipeg Blue Bombers game at B.C. Place.
There was no next time with Murphy Martin, either. I knew he had been sick, but not that sick. Murph, as those who knew him called him, seemingly still was at every Cowboys game this past season. Oh, he had retired from the job of PA announcer at Texas Stadium in 1998 but he would be there in the press box for every game to watch, to remain a part of the event.
I really didn't know Murph personally, but I guess well enough to call him by the same nickname the Ross Perot used during one of the many eulogies delivered Thursday during the memorial service at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas. He'd always say hi to me, without fail, and that humbled me since I knew Murph had done so much during his stellar TV career, this stuff at Texas Stadium but a drop in a legendary bucket.
We'd talk briefly about the Cowboys before I'd run to do pregame radio while thinking if only I had that guy's voice. But it was me who should have been asking him questions about his historic run in the TV business instead of him asking me about the Cowboys.
The guy was a walking history book, having covered President John F. Kennedy's assassination, the 1964 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the trial of Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald's graveside service, the Freedom Marches in Alabama and serving as pool reporter for the Gemini launches, both for ABC national news and locally for WFAA-TV.
And he became fast friends with Perot when he left WFAA-TV in 1970 when the two began a united front to assistant American POW's and MIA's in Southeast Asia. Why at his service they spoke of the time someone shot bullets through the front window of his Dallas home during his local investigation into organized crime.
So yeah, that he would voice the pre-game and halftime shows at Texas Stadium in the 80's, then move on to become the PA announcer for Cowboys games until 1998 was not who he solely was. He was a newsman in every sense, but unfortunately that was not how I mostly knew him. Guess it's high time to read his book, too, Front Row Seat.
At the conclusion of the service, his family walked down the church's long aisle to the back, led by his wife of 45 years, Joyce Martin, who somehow managed to speak at the service to thank those who needed thanking. I had never met her.
But as she walked by she caught my eye, reaching out to gently touch my elbow with her hand, humbling me that she would even know who I was. How these past few weeks have been so emotionally draining.
Such great people, such nice people, and lucky me, fortunate enough in my lifetime to know all three.